Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Title Bragging About Hyrum

This morning I introduced a new game to Hyrum. I've often tickled him because he is extremely ticklish. But we've been practicing with saying "yes" (and to a lesser extent "no") so I tickled him and said, "Tickle yes?" He was laughing too hard to respond. I would pause and say, "Tickle no." Then Hyrum would catch his breath and sick "Ticko." And I tickle him, pause, and say "Tickle no." "Ticko!" We played at that for several minutes.

Then tonight before bed, I laid down on the floor and told Hyrum, "Tickle Daddy." He seemed intrigued at the concept, but was hesitant. He no doubt expected me to grab him. I repeated the invitation, "Tickle Daddy." Hyrum came up shyly hands in front of him, reached down, and briefly touched my arm, then ran away. I laughed heartily and invited him again, "Tickle Daddy." He came back for more this time. He brushed his hands over my arm and a little on my chest and said, "tickotickoticko" then backed away. It was hilarious! We did that several times.

For bed, I've been trying to get Hyrum to say his own prayer. I prompt him to start and then wait for him to come out with "Dear Father Heaven." But then he's been stuck and if I stay silent, he turns straight to "name Jesus Chris' Amen." So I prompt him a little more. We thank thee..... and I wait. Before, he hasn't come up with anything. Tonight he did.

We thank Thee....

"Egg" - The Egg from 1776


"Yours" - Another song from 1776


"Bonnie Jean!" - from Brigadoon

and..... - what else will he come up with?


Okay, so he's really thankful for music tonight. We taught a sweet little girl in Nursery once upon a time who always prayed that she was thankful for "num nums." I have a feeling we'll be thanking the Lord for music for many moons to come. But that says I've been doing my job, because I've been teaching him to be thankful for music, for food, for people, and for fun things he's done that day. At least one has soaked through.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spelling attempts

Hyrum likes trying to spell out whatever is on the t-shirt I wore to bed the night before when I come get him in the morning. This week has been full of nostalgia for my undergrad institution.

"BYU 81st Ward" - It took him a while to figure out that d was not o, but he remembered it the next time I wore the shirt and got every letter correct yesterday morning.

"BYU Economics Club" - He got BYU and he got Club this morning. Spelling economics for the first time was cute. "E-CD-O-O-one-CD-S." There's a world of information about him in that spelling. There are times I'm glad to be an ecdoo1st. I believe that's pronounced ec-DOO-first, not to be confused with ec-DOO-fus.

Maybe I should wear the BYU Swing Kids t-shirt tonight and see what he makes of that. "Living the 8-count lifestyle."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hyrum's food

Boy, I tell you, when that boy changes his food preferences, he changes his food preferences!

We started keeping track of everything he ate a couple months ago so we could try to fine tune our attempts at getting a greater variety into him. (Joy chortle-snorts). For a solid month, he ate largely yogurt and milk. Then he had strep (he's all healthy now). Now all of a sudden all he wants are peaches and apple juice.

I mean, one week he ate yogurt 12 times, chocolate 5, and nothing more than 3 times in a week and drank 16 cups of milk; this week he had peaches 20 times (3 meals a day, almost 7 days a week!), peanut butter 4, and nothing else more than 3 times with 15 cups of apple juice and 10 cups of milk.

The doc tells us that somehow this is sufficient nutrition for a 2 year old, but how is it possible to get the micronutrients a person needs from only dairy products or only fruit??

Hyrum Talked To Strangers.... Hooray!

One of the exciting new developments in Hyrum's talking is who he is trying to talk to. In the past attention getting devices for Hyrum have been mostly non-verbal beyond people that he knows well. He loves attention, but seeks it though smiles, flirtations, running into people and taking their toys. But this weekend, yesterday, we went to the aforementioned primary activity and Hyrum was the only child that was to be babysat and they suggested we bring a video he likes to watch. We brought Disney's Fantasia 2000, and on the way into the building Hyrum insisted on caring it, as only a toddler can.

So, Hyrum holding daddy's on one side, video with the other hand rushes into the building. As we pass people or as they passed (people that he hasn't known before), Hyrum excitedly called out to them, looking at them, jabbering about his video to get their attention. He was really communicating with people. Mommy and Daddy were so proud of their little extrovert.

[A Joy post]

The Usual Disclaimers

In the last few posts, I've mentioned several products by name. The Powers That Be require me to mention that I am not paid by any of them in cash or in kind.

Friends, Service, Home Improvement Projects, and No One Dying of Typhoid

Joy says, "It was a great weekend on little sleep. It started out with Mommy reading scripture with Hyrum and feeding him before Daddy got home."

I had promised that I was responsible for dinner because it was my night for the date.

"And that made me feel free to not have to make any dinner for that night. So I totally exploded and made dinner for Sunday night instead."

Which is her preference anyway - making dinner for a future is much happier for her than cooking for today. "Less stressful, more enjoyable."

"So, feeling well prepared, Derrill got home with ... PIZZA!" PIZZA! Whole wheat crust pizza delivered as I walked up to our door from tiny local pizzeria Pizza Aroma. It was Nice. "Hearty and Tasty." Joy's comment throughout was "This is very flavorful, but still good." I teased her about the word 'but' - I think flavorful pizza is great because it is flavorful, not despite.

Then I took her out on a play date. "Which was easier to prepare for because we were all ready which made it nice to go. When we go play games with our friends, we put Hyrum down for the night at their house." He sleeps through Guitar Hero, Mario games, and loud Uno riots remarkably well. "I'm always amazed."

"We had a nice time visiting with them. We also played some games. I got to do the drums and the vocals. They have a great Beatles Guitar Hero where we know lots of songs and that makes it fun." The regular Guitar Hero gets old since the four of us only know about 5-10 songs of their 80 or whatever it is. "Twist and Shout!" Beatles songs are interesting in part because the Bass has a harder part than the lead guitar, and since Shari likes to be the lead guitar, I get the harder parts. "We played til my wrist gave out on me."

"Then we played Uno. It was fun hashing out what rules we were going to play." People were amazed at how many I wanted to clarify before the game started, but they weren't half so many as the ones we later debated during the game. "It was all friendly, and we all won at least once." Now variants to me: go again when you play a wild card (we ruled that one overpowered); ask the person you want to win what color she would like "That was cute"; and kiss your spouse if you play the same card "same color, same number."

"Then we got home and stayed up late together to read Potter."

Saturday morning was the Primary activity. When they called Joy to be a Primary teacher, there was a whispered warning that 'maybe I could help her out occasionally.' They asked me (and also Joy) to teach the kids about the symbolism of the Passover meal. Joy and another sister passed out the food while I explained the stories - not entirely in costume, but definitely with props. "I appreciated that you did it Derrill because I didn't want to do that part. I could've, but didn't want to."

I had a lot of fun. It was interesting to see what each group of kids remembered about Moses and the children of Israel. Some kids started talking about the tabernacle in the wilderness, another kid stole my thunder and told about the last plague before mentioning the others including details about the blood on the doorposts and on and on, and several kids got confused between Moses and Jesus. We served them a little chicken (instead of lamb - not my fault), romaine lettuce for the bitter herbs, matzo, and grape juice courtesy of the Primary. I told the story of the Passover as it happened to us (one group asked me if this really happened and I got to bear testimony that, yes, it did. Well before my time, but it did.) and when the Primary leader came to switch groups, I asked 'Moses' if it was time to go to the promised land and cheered them away.

One of the youth was kind enough to watch Fantasia 2000 with Hyrum and follow him around the building afterwards. Hy was happy to find us. "I had a really great time helping. I helped prepare the plates to go out to the kids and I really enjoyed visiting with Sis. Haney." Joy identified her as a kindred spirit.

Then we got home and took a nap it was very painful to wake up from. "Only because of its brevity." Joy finally convinced me that she was interested and happy to take over a house project that I was willing but not looking forward to: repairing our leaky roof by putting on another coat of aluminum stuff. I mixed the goo while Joy swept the roof, then she scrambled on up and started painting the roof while I cared for Hyrum and let him practice saying "yes." "That's going to take some time since he's accustomed to just echoing, but I think we'll get it."

"Well that project was bigger than I'd planned! Derrill seemed to have a better idea of what it entailed. I thought 'Half hour - no problem.'" *chortle* "Two hours later and not done yet I decided I'd better stop. Two blisters, blackened hands, black up my arms, on my legs past my knees (seeing as how I'd worn shorts and all)." I meanwhile, had discovered that rubbing alcohol is not the same thing as mineral spirits because it certainly didn't clean the aluminum off my hands. "So we had nothing to clean it off with! And it was kind of painful. I do have some exhema and the aluminum was pretty rough on my hands and legs." The Dawn foamy dish soap did a decent job, but left a lot to be desired. We both figured we'd be colored for several days. Thankfully, we had managed to keep Hyrum away from it. I went to the store last night to get some kerosene and that washes it off very quickly. So the next time someone like me googles: How to clean off aluminum mobile home roofing they will find this blog telling them to use kerosene.

Course, now the house smells like a fire trap inside and out after Joy bathed in aluminum, in kerosene, in water, and in skin moisturizer. I am very thankful for her. I don't like new heights - I'm fine with old heights, but new ones aren't my friends, and I didn't really trust our roof to hold my weight, so I was apprehensive and she saved me. My hero!

We were in so much pain when we went to bed! What a day. Oh right, and Friday we were fasting because one my mission areas was doing a 40-day fast and I had signed up for Friday. So this was the day of and after and while I was struggling with that evil scale that lied to me.

And we're all pretty healthy finally - no strep, no typhoid, no dysentery, ... "just the normal allergies." And today the Primary grabbed me to lead the music singing "Follow the Prophet" (a real learning experience for me!) while Joy taught her kids about Easter. Now she needs to go pick up the sister missionaries to feed them stuffed peppers. I need to do some cleaning, some table setting, and our son will probably wake up from his 4 hour nap eventually..... "Could he really still be asleep??" If not, he's happy. "Well, he didn't sleep well last night....." (fade)

My Favorite Game

Hi there. Hy here. I just wanted to tell you about my two favorite games this week. I got both of them for my birthday.

Pop and Boo got me a puzzle with the numbers 1-20 in great big wooden pieces. I love taking the numbers out of the puzzle and arranging them around the edge of the dining room table. Then I run around pointing and exclaiming over them. I tell anyone who comes by what the numbers are. Eventually, Mommy or Daddy ask me to put the numbers away so we can eat and I put them all back in the puzzle.

I can count to 10 all by myself, but not always.

My other favorite game I got from Mommy and Daddy: the Bob the Builder Matching game. There are just a bunch of cards with pictures of Bob and his friends, and I match them. Then I ask Mommy or Daddy for another baggy full of cards and they have me put all my cards back in their bag before they open a new one. Sometimes I dump out the cards, look at them really quick and I'm done. Sometimes I go through and match them all - usually if Mommy or Daddy is paying attention.

I've also decided that shoes are for more than throwing into Mom and Dad's room. Shoes are fun to wear when they're too big for me. I'm trying to learn how to walk around in Mommy's and Daddy's shoes, or anyone else's who comes by. If you come visit, maybe I'll walk in your shoes! Won't that be fun?

Selling the House on the (South) Beach

Some of you, remembering our earlier glowing reports of life on the South Beach Diet may be mildly confused at how I could be so very disappointed with it. Yes, I lost 25-30 pounds in the first three months, an unprecedented weight loss, May to July last year. Joy also lost about 20 pounds. What's to complain about?

The promise is 8-14 pounds the first two weeks and a pound a week thereafter and that pound a week has not been present since September. That's more than half a year of nothing. Not only nothing, but the 5 pounds I put on around Thanksgiving have never come off, despite spending more than a month on the stringent Level 1 and 'cheating' during level 2 to make it really level 1.5 for the last three months.

There's a difference between maintaining my weight on my own terms and following someone else's restrictions without seeing any benefit. There's a difference between maintaining when that's your goal and maintaining when you ought to be seeing progress. It's just gotten frustrating.

That, and our notoriously variable WiiFit scale pushed me over the edge. It claimed yesterday I had gained 10 pounds. Today, the 10 are gone again. But I have this problem that I believe the scale whenever it says I gain weight and I doubt it when it says I lose. This is not healthy. So when it said I had gained 10, South Beach's days were numbered.

So time to try something new! Another lifestyle. One that lets me have a little more whole wheat each day and more fruit in exchange for a little less meat. Joy thinks she might be headed toward trying a Weight Watchers system. I just want a few months proving I can hold my own on my own and enjoying it.

So, goodbye South Beach. Thank you for the 15 pounds. I appreciate it. Maybe I'll come and visit some day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hyrum vs. Ani

This morning, Hyrum eagerly asked for "Ani Song." Poor little Anakin. Here is Hyrum conducting "The Imperial March" from The Empire Strikes Back by John Williams.

I believe in ...

I've been teaching Hyrum the Articles of Faith and so I was pondering today what we mean when we say "We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." If someone unfamiliar with the church were to ask me that, the first part of my answer would probably be "I believe that God exists."

But when I see someone struggling and say to that person, "I believe in you," their mere existence is the last thing I'm referring to. Now I can imagine a philosophy student who has been trained to doubt his own existence communicating something meaningful by saying "I believe you exist," but I think when most of us use the phrase, we mean something a lot more.

I believe you will make the right decision. I believe you will endure. I believe you will fulfill your potential. I believe you are a good person. I trust you.

Trust. "We trust God the Eternal Father. We trust His Son Jesus Christ. We trust the Holy Ghost." We trust God's plan and His timetable. We trust that, though we are weak and vastly imperfect, Jesus can still make something better, even something glorious out of us because of who He is and His Atonement. We trust the promptings that the Holy Ghost gives us and follow them. We believe that we will be happy if we follow Them. We believe what They have said in the scriptures is true. When we do not know the way, we trust and rely on Them to see us through, because They are Way, the Truth, and the Life. We believe in Them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You know you've done something right when...

it's bedtime and you tell your two year old it's time to pray. The first thing he says is "Mom" to invite her to join us. The second thing he says is "kneel." He's more insistent about it than we are. Now we have to live up to our toddler's expectations.

Monday, March 22, 2010

They come not single spies

In the mighty rains of the evening, our bathroom is flooded with rainwater. Next!

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Signs of Love I Never Expected

Joy says, "We didn't even have a camera with us." I think, all things considered, you will forgive us.

Our car broke down Thursday while we were running some errands. We didn't have our cell phone. Thankfully, I knew the bus routes in that area very well and realized that if we caught the next bus in 5 minutes, we could transfer to another one at Cornell and get home right away. If not ... well, it would only be a 75-90 minute walk carrying Hyrum and some groceries.....

Hyrum, who is enamoured with the song "The Wheels on the Bus," was excited at the prospect of getting on the bus for the very first time. He ran around the little bus shelter, slamming into the glass walls. The other patrons were very patient.

We boarded the bus and headed to the back. Hyrum told me the doors on the bus go "open, shut." The driver on the bus said "Hello" instead of "Move on back," but Hyrum was excited.

So excited, he started coughing. I put my hand over his mouth to cover his cough.

Then I realized this was a more serious cough than I had anticipated. I adjusted my hand a little and changed his position as he lost the little bit of food he had eaten that day [poor little sick toddler!]. He was stunned for a moment, then lost twice as much again.

So there I sat with a cupped hand full of partially digested applesauce, food on my suit soaking my pants, on the floor ... just not on Hyrum because I had used the second's warning to make sure he missed himself. The other passengers were also clean and very nice about things.

The first thing I did was ask Hyrum if he felt better. He agreed, but was pretty shaken. I soothed him as best as I could and then we turned to the question of cleaning up. We gradually realized we had diapers and baby wipes we could use to mop things up before we left. Thank you, Joy.

We caught our buses and were home soon enough. Hy went straight to bed and stayed there quite happily. Daddy had a shower, and all was well.

Later that night, I thought about it a little more. If Derrill the young single adult had been holding a child threatening to do what Hyrum did, he most likely would have tried to distance the child from him as fast as possible. I don't want this stuff on me. Instead, my instant reaction was to keep it off of him and even to capture some in my hand in case it was only a little. My next reactions were to make sure he was feeling better and see if I could do anything to help him instead of worrying about my suit or getting this stuff off me.

I guess it's just one more way I love my son. I just didn't realize at the time I was holding love in my cupped hand.

The doc says he has strep throat, so we got some antibiotics and he managed to keep down several foods, including peanut butter, so we're hopeful he's on the road to recovery. The two of us probably have strep now, though. Yet another sign of love, I guess.

Valentines Day - belated: A Joy post

[After a serious brainstorming session with her calendar, Joy remembers why we never blogged about Valentines Day: we celebrated the day before (13th), only to be interrupted by the CO leak.]

So for the first time we weren't sick, but it was a crazy weekend. I made breakfast. I think I gave it to you in bed. I think so. Then we got ready and went to the temple with Hyrum. I did some initiatories and found that Derrill and Hyrum were outside - someone had made them feel that Hyrum wasn't welcome in the lobby. But the temple presidency made us feel like we were welcome two weeks later when we brought him. I had felt the Spirit really strong when I did those three names and then sent Derrill in to do initiatories.

And then we [I dunno, Joy, I think we went to Sam's Club first.] So my memory's not 20-20. We went straight home from the temple. So the rest of the trip I got to smell my really yummy smelling flowers that Derrill got for me at Sam's Club. They were tulips. I took pictures of them at various stages of growth. They are the best smelling flowers Derrill has ever gotten for me. They would fill the hall with flower scent when we got them home.

Later when we got home, Derrill made yummy food. I'm sure it had shrimpies in it, if I remember correctly it had really yummy garlic buttery sauce and noodles.

Then that night I thought I was in charge of what we were doing for the date and I was going to surprise him, but he had already seen the game I bought. [She left it open, out of its wrapping, and visible.] Because at Christmas I got a gift card and I got the Wii game Marioparty 8 (thank you, Grammy!). And it was really fun.

But Derrill had also gotten me a movie for Valentines - Pride and Prejudice. We like Pride and Prejudice. We might have watched some of it Sunday, but Derrill being the gentleman that he is, he let me choose to play my game. Did you like it? [Yes, I did.] I'm glad I got it. I like it.

Then around 9? o'clock at night was when the CO alarm went off. I remember we got Hyrum up from being asleep and you called 9-11 and the whole thing took about an hour. We got back in the house around 10. I think we'd already stopped playing the game because we were going to put away our groceries - when it's freezing outside, it doesn't matter if your groceries stay in your car a little longer. [Well, we HAD been baking bread to set off the alarm, so clearly we had stopped the game.] Yeah, cause it was the oven that set off the alarm. So the Fire Department came over for the first time in my life. It was pretty exciting. Hyrum and I listened to music in the car while Derrill took care of the firemen.

And I would like to issue a warning to anyone whose CO detector goes off: Do not open your doors or windows to air out your apartment if you're going to call 9-1-1. They can't get a correct reading for you when they come over if you do that. Even though everything online says you should do that.

So after the FD left, we ended the night by putting away groceries and meat in freezers. It was a long night. I think we got to bed by 1am, somewhere around there. [It takes a while to properly bag Sam's Club meat.]

And the next day we taught our last temple prep class and went to the young married fireside. It was a busy weekend! Until the CO leak happened, we had a pretty good Valentines I think. It had been a pleasant day together.

And I loved my flowers.

Cuter Every Day

Hello. My name is Hyrum and I am Cuter Every Day (Trademark).

Daddy has been reading me stories from the Old Testament recently. The Church videos for the Old Testament have some really bad, scary music. I don't like them very much. But there's one story and video I love and ask for every day: the Temple! Daddy's starting to have me help tell the story. God told King Solomon to "build temple." The people made it out of "stone" and "wood." The walls and floors were "gold" and there was a "gold altar" in the temple. There was a "pool" of "water" on the backs of 12 "oxen." When the temple was all done, King Solomon put "bowls" in it. The "ark" was in the temple. The priests "sang songs" and thanked "God." The music for the video is nice, too. The only two videos with good music talk about the tabernacle (How Beautiful Thy Temples Lord) and the temple (The Lord is My Shepherd). I hope someday the Church redoes the Old Testament video like they redid the Book of Mormon video and that they improve the music.

Yesterday I was fiddling around with Mommy's purse. All of a sudden, I pulled out a pen. I waved the pen around and shouted, "I found a pen!" Mommy and Daddy were so proud of me: it was the first time I said the word "I" with any verb other than "I want;" the first time I said the word "found" which Mommy and Daddy hadn't been teaching me; the first time I used an ... in-def-in-ite article; and a brand new sentence I invented all by myself.

Today Mommy and Daddy woke up hearing me call out from my crib, "No! No! No! No! No! No!" Daddy got up and made a short pit stop before getting me. I could hear footsteps, but wasn't sure whose. I called out, "Mommy! Watch Bob Builder! Daddy! Watch Bob Builder! Mommy Daddy, I want watch Bob Builder p'ease!" Mommy laughed to think I was calling that out into the stillness first thing in the morning.

Daddy and I played ABC's today. For my birthday I got this fun toy that sings to me whenever I put a letter in it. "B says buh, B says buh. Every letter makes a sound, B says buh." We played with them for a while, then Daddy asked me to help clean up. He told me to "Find A" and I handed him an A. I got through almost all the alphabet that way without any help. I can also point to letters and say most of their names. W is really hard.

Daddy was just working on his scriptures while I played quietly. I needed his help, so I called out, "He'p!" He came over and saw that I had pulled out all the cans of peaches and pears and lined them up from the hall to the fridge. He asked what help I wanted, so I said, "He'p peaches" and reached under the table to try to find more peaches to line up. He told me I had all the peaches in the house already. That was sad.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What does this blog sound like?

Now you can find out what this blog sounds like. At the moment, it sounds like an organ synthesizer in the key of a minor. The first 30 seconds are probably the best. The song changes as the blog goes on, particularly if I were to start writing more words like bade, gad, caged, dead, ebbed, feed, deaf, etc. Hat tip: Newmark's Door

UPDATE: Now it's a piano. I like this version a lot less. Let's add another letter a to make it major.

UPDATE: Now there are horns with a very short drum part and, yes, it's A major now. Let's keep it that way.

UPDATE: Now it's a slap bass with the shortest drum part possible. Ugh.

UPDATE: Back to piano, back to minor, longer drum but still short.

UPDATE: And back to the major organ with a short drum. Fascinating.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Impressions of a Savior

Imagine that you were introducing Jesus as our Savior to someone for the first time. Maybe they had heard fragmented accounts of some stories in the Bible, maybe not. What is the very first thing you would want to tell them about Jesus?

I picked up my New Testament again tonight and thought about that question as I read Matthew 1:1. The first thing Matthew tells us is that Jesus is "the son of David, the son of Abraham," and then he goes through the genealogy chronologically. Jesus is the son and heir of the king of Israel and an heir of the covenant of Abraham. But he is more. He is the author of that covenant - the "author and finisher of our faith." He is the King of Israel in whose stead David stood, this being the answer to Jesus' question: If the Christ is the son of David, why does David call him Lord? (Matt 22:41-46). Jesus is our king, our lawgiver twice over, and the one to whom our fathers looked. That's a lot to pack into eight words, i'n' it?

Mark and Luke both start with John the Baptist, but in very different ways. Mark begins with John's testimony that Jesus' mission was to remit sins, to baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost, and his witness that God Himself called Jesus His Son. Luke begins yet earlier with John's father, Zacharias, entering the temple to petition God. The angel declared that his prayers had been heard. What was it the priest was to pray for when he entered the temple? For the redemption of the people, a redemption heralded by two births in the same extended family. Jesus would redeem His people.

John focuses on who Jesus was before He came to earth: the Word, of God and God in His own right, the Creator, the Light and the Life, the only way whereby we can return to God and receive of His fullness. Deep and wonderful doctrines that require more chewing than I'm planning on for a blog post.

So then I got thinking about the Book of Mormon. I realized one of the primary differences between the Gospels authors and the Book of Mormon authors is that the Gospels authors are very third-person and hidden in the background (John does his dead-level best to hide his own name and the others try to avoid mention of themselves as well) while the Book of Mormon is much more first-person: this is me and my life. The thing that I realized we don't have in the New Testament is what might be termed a personal narrative: I came to Jesus with this question and this is what He said to me; I had this weakness and this is how Jesus taught me, healed me, trained me, changed me. Rather, the authors of the Gospels tell His interactions with others and group interactions in which the author can hide. On the other hand, Nephi, at the end of the first chapter, tells us his purpose is to show rather than tell how the Lord's tender mercies have been over him and his family. It's an account of God's dealings with people in the first person.

I'm very thankful to have both: records about Jesus and His life and records about other people and their relationship with their Savior. What a beautiful complementarity!

So that was one verse of my scripture study today. On to verse 2! :)

Hy's Top Ten

From Valentines Day to almost St. Pat's
1. Tarantara from "Pirates of Penzance" - 96 times
2. 76 Trombones from "Music Man" - 86 times
3. Bob the Builder's Theme Song - 63 times
4. Pomp and Circumstance - 40 times
5. The Wheels on the Bus - 31 times
6. With Cat-Like Tread from "Pirates of Penzance" - 30 times
7. Joy to the World, Mormon Tabernacle Choir - 29 times
8. The Ants Go Marching - 23 times
9. London Bridge - 22 times
10. Beethoven's Hallelujah Chorus performed by Daddy and the BYU University Chorale - 21 times

All time Favorites (30 or more times heard, new songs bolded):
Bob the Builder - 748
Handel's Hallelujah Chorus - 391
Tarantara - 96
Little Drummer Boy - 95
76 Trombones - 86
Pomp and Circumstance - 75
Firebird Suite - 59
Pines of Rome - 48
Come, Thou Fount - 43
Veggie Tales silly songs - 27-36
Silent Night - 35
Wheels on the Bus - 31
With Cat-Like Tread - 30
Caroling, Caroling - 30
[below are some other songs on the top half of his list, put there only for my own reference for next month's accounting. Don't mind me.]

Hyrum vs. Uncle Steve

We went out to a restaurant the day before Hyrum's birthday so we wouldn't have to cook. For Hyrum's birthday restaurant, we had Chinese while Hyrum had (you guessed it) yogurt. While he waited for us to finish King Crab, he drew and played with Uncle Steve, who has been practicing his Fun Uncle bit. This was a good week for Hyrum/Stephen relations. He remembers his uncle's name!


Looks like something fun is happening at the Watsons. Derrill's brother and his wife are visiting for spring break, but why all the decorations?

Oh that must be it. The little giant is finally 2 years old. Hyrum is a toddler. I took the day off work to spend time with him and make the day special.

Hyrum usually shows his interest in something by being very intent and serious-looking, so most of the pictures I got are of a very intent, serious-looking boy fascinated by his presents. One present stood out on the cheering and giggling scale, though: Grandma Straw sent him a Sorcerer Mickey Mouse. He saw it and immediately asked to watch and listen to The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He danced Mickey around and showed him to everyone multiple times with great ecstasy. Now he's started sleeping with Mickey in the crib too. Congratulations, Grandma Straw.

Here's a video of his fun with Mickey, starting with a kiss and ending with a laugh-inducing request for milk:

There were many other hits, though. Joy got Hyrum another toy phone. This one is perhaps the most phone-looking toy phone he's had. He picked it up, put it to his ear, and started having a conversation. He even held it to his ear to open the next presents! So far, we know he's talked to Pop and Boo, Daddy, and Bob the Builder on the phone.

Pop and Boo got Hyrum this nifty tent and tunnel set for his soft ball collection. We invited a few friends his age over - so sorry for the others who couldn't come due to illness! - to run through the tunnel and throw balls around. Hy had a lot of fun playing with them. They also enjoyed some homemade play dough and dug through a big container of rice to hunt for presents and tops. Hy enjoyed crawling through the tunnel by himself, but wanted to watch the other kids and throw balls around.

Joy adds, "It was really nice at the party that the kids tended to get tired of activities about the same time. And they all enjoyed the activities that we had and it was fun - kind of busy. We had some fun. It looked like everyone else did too. Emilee did a great job helping Hyrum with the rice and Steve did a great job of helping Hyrum with his play dough. They also helped clean up and helped it all go smoothly. I'm also really thankful for Derrill who organized a lot of it and insisted there be more than one guest - a good thing since several couldn't make it."

It was a major production for us, unaccustomed as we are to multiple kids or throwing parties. We were glad Steve and Emie were around to help out - Uncle Steve dumped the entire tent of balls out on one of the kids, to his delight.

Hyrum successfully blew out his two candles after enough tries.

The big reason for inviting other kids over was because when Hyrum went to James' birthday party, he saw the other kids eating cake and he tried it too. So Joy made the same vegan chocolate cake for this party and when he saw the other kids eating it, he tried some too. It wasn't much, but he ate a little! Woohoo!

"It was really cute to see them gathered around to eat cake. It was like seeing miniature people. They were just sitting there all agog waiting for ice cream and cake. It was like the reason they got together was to eat ice cream and cake and it was exciting and fun. That kind of anticipation is exciting. Hyrum didn't know what was going on, but the other kids did."

In every sense, it was a much more successful party than the traumatizing one we threw for Hyrum alone last year. To assist, we introduced him to some of the activities the day before. They all passed.

The tent came with two "complimentary gifts" that the company wanted us to review. These glasses with silly, flexible ear pieces were one of them. Hyrum opened the glasses, pulled on the ear pieces and in 2 seconds flat had torn both of them out. What a cheap thing! Are they sure they really want a review from us?

Pop and Boo also got Hyrum a truck book he loved and a numbers puzzle he has enjoyed putting together a few times - it goes up to 20.

Uncle Steve and Aunt Emilee gave him a set of Lightning McQueen Cars cars. They were worried nothing could compete with Mickey for attention, but he was quite enthralled with them too. So enthralled, he wasn't interested in opening this great big package in front of him. So Mommy told him it was a ramp for the cars. He played with them for a bit longer, then parked them under the couch in a line.

Imagine his surprise when he opened the big box to discover a truck filled with hot-wheels-like cars. He got them all out, lined them up several different ways. Then he gathered them up in his arms and sat on them to make sure no one stole them from him. I asked him where his smile was, and this is him showing me where it's hidden. A big Mommy win.

We got him a bunch of books, some Handy Manny toys - of which his favorite is the flashlight and my least favorite is the pliers because they are very annoying to get out of the toolbox and they hurt putting them back in - a Bob Builder and a Toy Story memory match game (two parents with one mind), a couple easy puzzles, a slate to draw on, a Bob the Builder video and some other Bob merchandise. Our card to him has Mr. Rogers singing to him, but Grammy's card to him took the cake: Alvin and the Chipmunks singing "Funky Town," changing their tune depending on which of them you press. I think we're going to hear a lot of Funky Town soon.

We opened some of Pop and Boo's gifts the night before and some the day of while they joined us via webcam. This is them watching him open one of our presents to him.

Hyrum meets Hoffman

Hyrum - sick with a cough, sneezes, and achyness and hence isn't going to church - asked for some choir music, so I loaded up Youtube and introduced "Praise to the Man" to him. He wanted to listen again, so I looked through my music collection to find him a copy he could listen to during breakfast.

The only version already on my computer was by Lex de Azevedo - an excellent rendition, but a largely non-vocal version he wouldn't yet recognize as Praise to the Man. How strange. I guess I'll have to add another version.

I looked through my Mormon Tabernacle Choir CDs (about a dozen of sacred music, not counting several patriotic, and NOT ONE of them had Praise to the Man on it! Not one! I was quite in shock.

Thankfully, a few years back I made a CD collection I called "Best of the Hymnal" with my favorite version of any hymn for which I had a version, so I soon had Roger Hoffman and his trumpets and background choir singing to Hy.

While he ate breakfast (yup, more yogurt), I searched through our collection of General Conference CDs, finally finding the Mack Wilberg arrangement he had just watched and enjoyed. I loaded it up on the computer ... and Hyrum said "no. Praise man."

This is Praise to the Man, I explained. "No." I tried turning on Roger Hoffman again. "Yes. Praise Man."

Roger Hoffman - 1
Mack Wilberg - 0 (okay, not really zero - he's got a bunch of versions Hy likes, this is just the first time he's gone head to head with Hoffman House)

Right now, Hyrum is discovering Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. I see a new favorite coming..... I've been waiting for Hy to notice this one! He's conducting it with vigor.... Hyrum, do you want song again? "No. Praise Man." Hm. Looks like we have a new True Love de Jour

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's All in How You Say It

Hermione unlocks doors in Southern California: "Aloha-like-mora."

The Jewish-Mormon sings: "I am a child of God. And He has sent me Here?? Oi!"

[My brother groaned over these, but the ladies stared at us, puzzled. So if this makes no sense to you, you're in good company. Derrill's just being silly.]

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Tale of Arabian Nights: Road to Baghdad

My brother and his wife are spending their spring break here, so that can mean only one thing: the Watsons are playing Tales of Arabian Nights again. Tonight's tale of daring do stars Bob Hope as "Singbad" in The Road to Baghdad.

We meet our hero in Baghdad and he's already on the move. Singbad had been working the palace as the music instructor for the sultan's beautiful daughter. Jealous, the evil vizier Al-Fakir (Basil Rathbone) accuses him of being part of a failed attempt on the sultan's life (Bing Crosby). Singbad narrowly manages to escape the palace and becomes an Exile. He must continue to flee every turn lest the vizier's guards catch up with him and bring him back in chains. He flees to the area north of India to try to clear his name with nothing but his Luck, his Quick Thinking, and his talent for Seduction [which I never got to use the last time, so maybe I'll have better luck this time].

Moving through a field at night, Singbad thinks he encounters a ghostly beast (Dean Martin). Terrified, he calls for help, but no one answers and the beast moves on, singing drunkenly.

Arriving in a town, he finds a slave auction underway. As he stares at one of the robed slaves, the sounds of the nearby crowd fade into the background and before he realizes it, he has bid one coin to purchase the Disguised Slave, who turns out to be a cursed wizard and master hypnotist (Cary Grant). The wizard repays him the spent coin and adds many more besides in gratitude for his freedom. Singbad is now Rich.

At the next town, he enters a secret trap door to reveal a beautiful maiden (Dorothy Lamour). She reveals that she has been imprisoned there by an evil creature. A sudden noise terrifies her. She hides Singbad in the closet just before the angry efreet appears and slays her. Lacking Determination, Singbad does nothing but cower in the closet. Grief Stricken, he comes out of the closet ashamed of himself for his cowardice. He may not use any of his talents.

While sailing on a ship, a storm frightens the captain and crew. He observes them chanting in a strange language and making strange motions in the air. He tries to copy them, failing comically, but he passes off the job well enough that the ship is allowed to continue on its way without calamity. This teaches him Acting and Disguise.

As only Bob Hope can do, Singbad grovels before a wise sage (Sir Alec Guiness). Touched by his story, he invites Singbad to dinner, setting him at a place of honor. The other guests are amazed at the honor and respect shown the poor singer. The sage allows him to spend several days at his home, enjoying great pleasure and becoming Respected. He is able to help Singbad prove his innocence and the guilt of Al-Fakir. He must return to Baghdad with the valuable information!

Arriving back in Baghdad, Singbad sneaks into the palace where he encounters an enchanted beast. He tries to summon help, but no one is available. He tries to soothe the beast by singing, but that only frightens it instead. It attacks, Wounding him on the leg. The wound helps him to realize that there was really nothing he could have done to save the fair maiden and he has atoned for his cowardice. He is no longer Grief Stricken.

In a climactic moment, he reveals the vizier's treachery and the sultan executes him, anointing Singbad as the new vizier. He gains Wisdom and Courtly Graces, becomes the Vizier, his Origin is now Baghdad (so he has to return there after every encounter in any city) and is given a new quest to Seek Treasure for the sultan. But first, he waits and his wounds are healed by the sultan's daughter's tender ministrations. Such a pity he has to leave again!

In his travels, he has heard rumors of treasures in Africa, and so he heads south. Singbad meets up with a noble wizard (David Niven). He bargains with the wizard into sending him on a quest. If he returns having completed the task, he will give Singbad two treasures. Singbad is no longer tied down to Baghdad. The task must be performed in the legendary Cave of Wonders.

Following up on the rumors of treasure, he continues south to Bilma. Just outside of the town, Singbad finds a a gem in a tree. An angry Efreeteh turns him into a Beast Form - Singbad's nose grows even more.

In Bilma he also meet up with a Hairless Ape (Johnny Depp; a treasure!) who says he will help Singbad if he befriends him. Using Singbad's wisdom, the Ape is able to take him away to the Cave instantly.

At the Cave of Wonders, knowing his lack of fighting or magic skills, Singbad hires a magician to help him gain entrance. As soon as the passageway opens, however, a large man with a scimitar attacks, kills the wizard, and the cave seals once more. In his frustration, he gains Weapon Use and becomes Grief Stricken over leading to the death of the enchanter.

Here we go again!

Scripture Stories for Toddlers: God said "yes" edition

Hi there. Hy here. Daddy told me a lot of stories yesterday at the temple and I wanted to remember them. Since I turn two this week and am a full-fledged toddler, I'm discovering the power of the word, "no." Daddy said he wanted me to learn the power of "yes."
Jonah was a missionary. God told Jonah to go over there. Jonah said "no" and ran away. God said, "yes" and he sent a big fish. The big fish swallowed up Jonah *NOM*. Jonah said, "I'm sorry. I'll go over there. Will you forgive me?" God said, "yes" and the big fish spat Jonah up *ptooie*. Jonah went to the people and told them about God. He said God would forgive them if they were good. They were happy to hear about God. They repented and God was happy.
Moses was a prophet. God told Moses to save His people from Egypt. Moses said to Pharaoh, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and made all the water blood.
Moses said to Pharaoh, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and sent frogs. *ribbit ribbit*
Moses said, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and sent a lot of flies *buzz buzz*.
Moses said, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and sent hail - little pellets of snow that hurt *poke poke poke poke poke*.
Moses said, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and made everything dark. (At some point, the toddler catches on and will repeat the phrases for each character.)
Moses said, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "no." God said, "yes" and he told Moses how to save their boys. Pharaoh didn't listen and his son died. Pharaoh was very sad.
Moses said, "Let my people go." Pharaoh said, "okay."
Moses led them to God and they were happy.
God told Lehi to send his sons over there to get the brass plates. Lehi asked Laman if he would go. Laman said, "no." Lehi asked Lemuel if he would go. Lemuel said, "no." Lehi asked Nephi if he would go. Nephi said, "yes." So they went to Jerusalem to get the plates. They asked Laban if he would share the plates. Laban said "no" and attacked them. They told Laban they would share their toys if Laban shared the plates with them. Laban said "no" and attacked them. Laban stole their toys. He was a bad man. Nephi wanted to try again. Laman said, "no" and was mean. Lemuel said "no" and was mean. God sent an angel. The angel said "yes; and you should be soft with your brother." Nephi tried again. He found Laban asleep. God killed Laban. Nephi went to Laban's house and asked Zoram if he would share the plates. Zoram said, "yes" so they all went back home and were happy to have the scriptures.
Paul was not a nice man. When someone asked him if he believed in Jesus, Paul said, "no" and hurt them. Paul went around trying to find people who believed in Jesus and hurt them. Then one day, Jesus talked to Paul and said, "hello." Paul said, "Who are you?" Jesus said, "I'm Jesus. Please be soft." Paul said, "I'm sorry. I'll be soft. Will you forgive me?" Jesus said, "yes." But Paul couldn't see anymore. His friends took him to town.
God came to one of his friends and told him to make Paul all better. God's friend said, "yes" and went to see Paul. He asked if Paul believed in Jesus. Paul said, "yes" and God's friend put his hands on Paul's head and blessed him so he could see again. Paul was very happy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dancing with the Toddlers

Dancing to "Tarantara" from Pirates of Penzance and preparing for his first musical chairs competition.

For those unfamiliar with the operetta, the police are singing, "We go. We go. Yes, forward on the foe" while wandering around in circles. The Major General sings his annoyance that they don't actually go, during which they pause. This is Hyrum's faithful reenanctment. "Tarantara" is their version of the "trumpet's marshal sound" which they recite to compensate for an innate lack of courage.

A little later, the pirates are making their climactic attack on the Major General's castle, singing in their loudest possible voice that their appreach is silent and stealthy, "With Cat-like Tread." During the movie version (thank you, Youtube!) they take a step, swing their swords for 3 counts, then take another step on the downbeat. This is Hyrum's reenactment.

UPDATE: Right this second, on the way back from a diaper change and Daddy singing Tarantara, he opened his mouth and spake, saying "I want Tarantara song, please."


Interview with a Toddler

Hyrum's first 4-syllable word, brought to you in part by Gilbert and Sullivan.

We are SO CLOSE to getting a complete sentence. He later started off with "I want" all by himself at breakfast.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Old Days

I was creating a LinkedIn account for myself and was trying to remember the name of a service program I had helped coordinate while I was at BYU. I found the Unifarce (sorry, old habits die hard - Universe) article that discussed my involvement in the program. Since it took a while to find, I'm just going to put a bookmark here for myself so I can find it again easily: Adopt-a-Grandparent. So there you go, future-Derrill. You're welcome.

I recall those visits to the rest home very fondly. They led Joy and me to talk to our local government program for the elderly. They put is in contact with a dear lady, Cora Wood, for whom we gathered food from the various food pantries in town once a week. She crocheted Hyrum a lovely blanket and gave him a bear with a matching outfit she made. We had to stop when Hyrum was born and lost contact with her after. If someone in Ithaca happens to run into her or knows her, please let us know. We'd love to be able to say hi again.

When's the last time you contacted your grandparents?